In October of 2015 the time came to put down our 14 year old German Shepherd, Keyara. Being a stay at home dad (and before that, mostly part time at the library), I’d spent more time with her than anyone else in the family. It isn’t an exaggeration to say I was closer to that dog than most humans. Making the decision to euthanize her was difficult and the actual act was heartbreaking. I still tear up looking at this picture, taken during her last few hours.


I think of her every day, along with her adopted sister, Sage (who died of cancer in 2011 at the age of 9).


I had determined I would not be ready to adopt another dog for several years, maybe never. My heart hurt too much, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be over the loss of both my beautiful girls.

Things change and time makes some wounds easier to deal with.

Last Friday, after likely not enough thought or conversation, we took the plunge and adopted another beautiful German Shepherd Puppy.

This is Athena.IMG_9216

She is 11 weeks old, loves to test my patience by chewing on everything in sight, eating pill bugs (rolly-polly, potato bugs) by the dozens, munching on bark mulch faster than I can get it out of her mouth, biting my toes, spilling her water bowl each time I fill it. And we won’t mention bedtime or crate training…



She is also absolutely adorable. And while I have moments of absolute terror at what we’ve done, hours of depression brought on by too much thinking, I already love her deeply. She makes me laugh with her silly prancing, her determination to get her own way, and the sweet kisses she offers me each day.

She already knows her name, how to sit. We are working on *leave it* (silly bark mulch), and will get to *stay* next week.Β athena

I know I shouldn’t let her on the bed, but I’m gonna anyway.Β IMG_9252.JPG

As you might expect, taking care of her requites almost all my time and effort. She has so much to learn, and everything is new to her. My writing has been put on hold, along with almost everything else. That will change as the weeks roll by, and soon enough our routines will be established, and she will not demand as much attention. But for now, I will be mostly absent from Social Media. That will likely be great news to some of you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve a puppy to smother with affections.




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About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

9 responses to “Athena”

  1. aploplexy says :


  2. jmh says :

    She’s adorable. Those ears!

    I’m sorry for the loss of your two girls. Losing an animal is one of life’s most heartbreaking experiences. I don’t think one ever truly gets over it, but the pain can ease over time.


  3. artistpath says :

    She’s beautiful!

  4. Liesbet says :

    Athena is stealing my heart as well. As I started reading your post, tears welled up, since I know what it is like to love dogs, treat them as family members, be with them 42/7 and then loose them. But, my smile returned with the the first photo of Athena. And, it is still on my face. πŸ™‚

    It took us years to stop mourning over our dogs (both died from cancer being only ten) and years longer to even desire another dog of our own. But, the time of adoption will arrive in a couple of years, I think. Or, whenever we make it out to Best Friends in Utah. πŸ™‚

    That last photo of you and Keyara together is spectacular – the setting, the light, the moment. So telling, so endearing, so sad and beautiful at the same time.

    • fenster says :

      My spouse took that photo of Keyara and me. I didn’t know she’d done so until she showed it to me later. I really need to frame that one, I think. It is perfect.

      Athena is a heartstealer for sure. She’s sleeping beside the desk as I type this. Sleeping puppies are glorious.

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